Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Parshas Bamidbar (5776)

When is the "Wilderness of Sinai"?

The Torah writes (Numbers 1:1):
AND THE LORD spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after the were come out of the land of Egypt, saying
Rashi (ibid):
... for on the first day of Nisan the Tabernacle was erected (Exodus 40:2) and shortly afterwards, on the first day of Iyar, He counted them.
Rashbam (ibid):
all the communications, instructions, we heard about in the first year of the Israelites’ wanderings, before the Tabernacle had been erected, were characterised by the words בהר סיני, at Mount Sinai. Once the Tabernacle had been erected on the first day of the first month of the second year, the words בהר סיני as the source of the legislation do not appear again, but are replaced by the words במדבר סיני באהל מועד.

Who are the Princes?

The Torah writes (Numbers 1:4-15):
And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur. Of Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai. Of Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab. Of Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar. Of Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon. Of the children of Joseph: of Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; of Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur. Of Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni. Of Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai. Of Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran. Of Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel. Of Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan.’
Elizur was one of the 250 men with Korach (Bamidbar Rabbah 11:26).
There are opinions that all the princes ended up among the 250 men with Korach (Shnei Luchos haBris, Korach, Torah Ohr 29 in the name of Rabbeinu Bachya; see also Sefer Taamei deKrah)
Shelumiel was Zimri (Talmud Sanhedrin 82b) 

Nachshon died during the same (second) year (Seder Olam).
Nachshon was also the father of Elimelech, Salmon, Ploni Almoni and Naomi's father in Megilas Ruth (Talmud Baba Bathra 91a)

Nethanel was the person who advised the princes to bring their offerings (Rashi Number 7:18 in the name of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan) 

Eliasaph, son of Deuel is called "son of Reuel" in Numbers 2, and Deuel here, and in Numbers 7 and 10 (see Josh Waxman's parshablog)

(see also Sefer Shaarei Aharon for alternative explanations for all of the names of princes, which are nicknames, and not real names)

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Parshas Behukosai (5776)

What is "The Pride of Your Power"?

The Torah writes (Leviticus 26:19):
And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass.
Rashi (ibid) explains:

This is a reference to the Temple; for thus does it state, (Ezekiel 24:21) “Behold I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength”.
Sforno (ibid) explains:

by the destruction of the Tabernacle in Shiloh. Compare Psalms 78:60 “He forsook the Tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent He had set among men.”
Rashbam (ibid) explains:
as we read in verse 26 בשברי לכם מטה לחם, “when I will break your proud glory,” (economic independence)
Baal Haturim (ibid) explains:
"pride" - numerical value of "that is the Temple"; "the pride of your power" - numerical value of "Jerusalem"
The Talmud (Gittin 37a) explains (as per Rashi):
Rabbi Yosef learns - these are the rich people of Judah

Whom did G-d make a covenant with?

The Torah (Leviticus 26:45) writes:
But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.
Rashi (ibid) explains:
THE COVENANT OF THE ANCESTORS — i. e. of the twelve Tribes (cf. Sifra)
Haemek Davar (ibid) explains:
... the covenant which was made with Moses was on behalf of all future generations and now [the Torah] adds that regarding their livelihood in the land of their enemies He will also watch them because of the remember of the covenant with the first generation which was taken out from the Land of Egypt
(see Sefer Shaarei Aharon for further discussion of these opinions)

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